African country declares Ebola outbreak
Uganda’s health ministry has announced the first fatal case of Ebola in the East African nation in three years, declaring an outbreak of a rare strain of the highly contagious virus in the central district of Mubende.
The victim was a 24-year-old man, who showed symptoms of the virus and later died, Diana Atwine, the ministry’s permanent secretary, said during a press conference on Tuesday.
The patient had a high fever, diarrhea and abdominal pains, and was vomiting blood before he died, she added.
“We want to inform the country that we have an outbreak of Ebola, which we confirmed yesterday,” Atwine said.
According to the African office of the World Health Organization (WHO), eight people with suspected cases of “the relatively rare Sudan strain” are currently undergoing treatment in a hospital in Mubende.
“Uganda is no stranger to effective Ebola control. Thanks to its expertise, action has been taken quickly to detect the virus, and we can bank on this knowledge to halt the spread of infections,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Africa’s regional director, said in a statement.
Uganda last reported an outbreak of the Sudan strain in 2012. It was also hit by the Ebola Zaire strain in 2019, with at least five people dying from the disease at that time.
Ebola was identified in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire), which borders Uganda, and has since then killed some 15,000 people across the African continent.
The often fatal viral haemorrhagic fever spreads among humans through body fluids. The natural hosts of Ebola are bats.